County leaders joined forces Monday afternoon in the first of many planning sessions for the annual emergency preparedness simulation.
This year’s simulation centers around the outbreak of diseases, like plague or small pox.
“One of the county governments core services is to be prepared, not for if, but when it (disasters) happens,” District 3 Commissioner Jerry Alvord said. “We don’t want to be the log that causes a jam. We want to be part of the solution.”
The simulation is set to take place in October, but officials will spend months planning and gathering volunteers in an attempt to make the scenario as real as possible. The Carter County Mass Immunization Prophylaxis Strategy plans aim to prepare the community for a public health outbreak, like plague, and prepare key officials to be equipped to distribute medicine throughout the city.
The planning meeting came after the commissioner’s signed on to being Push Partners at their weekly meeting Monday morning. A push partner is a company who accepts medicine for their employees and their employee’s family in a time of crisis. Push Partners also receive medicines before others with the hope that the vaccinated people would then be able and willing to distribute the medicine to others.
“If you get the Push Partners medicated, they are more likely to come help at the PODs,” said Mendy Spohn, regional
administrative director for the Carter County Health Department.
Because the commissioners signed the deal, 171 Carter County employees and their families will receive medicine in case of an outbreak. Meaning 859 doses of medicine will be administered as soon as the drugs are available.  
The drill will simulate a real live scenario in which medicine, or in this case empty medicine bottles, will be transported from the Center for Disease Control’s Strategic National Stockpile location via highway patrol to a secret location in Ardmore. From there, the medicines will be distributed to community Point of Dispensing locations in surrounding counties, such as Love, and Johnston County.
These PODs will be distribution centers for the medicines. The trained county officials, and medical staff, will then administer medication to those who come to the distribution center. Centers will be both drive, and walk up accessible.
“If we were attacked, by terrorism, or a plague and we had to get medicine to everyone in 72 hours we could,” Spohn said. “It’s fun to talk about participating in the drill, but in the real world there will be death. There will be people who are exposed to the illness.”
In order to successfully complete the drill, city officials say they will need to have enough volunteers to cycle through 300 - 400 people an hour, but because this is a drill the same group of volunteers can go through more than one time so long as they simulate different conditions.
Last year’s drill involved a simulation of blowing up downtown Ardmore, and taught emergency personnel what do to in the event of such attack. These emergency plans are important for the city to have, so that they can best serve citizens in the event that any disaster were to happen.  
“We always preach ‘be prepared,’ but most people don’t even have an emergency exit plan at home,” Paul Tucker, Carter County emergency management director said. “We’re just doing our job to get people prepared in any way we can.”
The last training for this program in Carter County was in 2007.
Carter County Health Department, in Ardmore, will have Push Partner training on June 28, for any organization or business that meets the criteria and would like to become a push partner.